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ARE TWO MICROSOFTS
BETTER THAN ONE?
Will Justice Dept. Edict Benefit Consumers?
Anyone seen Microsoft's bill gates',390,400);">bill gates',390,400);">Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer in the same room at the same time recently?

That may be just one of the results of the Justice Department's recommendation that the software giant be split into two companies—one for its operating systems (like Windows), another for its applications (Office and the Internet Explorer Web browser). Where the company's Windows Media Player fits in remains unclear.

Pundits have been working overtime figuring out the implications, including how Gates will cope with losing his status as the richest man in America, and whether he will subsequently become the two richest men in America.

Some are predicting that the company will pin its hopes in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit in comparison to other anti-trust cases.

The company has fought back with full-page ads in several newspapers, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, as well as a televised spot featuring Ballmer reassuring the worried masses Microsoft will be fine. They've also said the feds' decision is "very disturbing" and a "signal that companies in America that are ‘too' successful will be punished harshly—a signal that will be welcomed by foreign competitors seeking to overtake America's global leadership in technology."

Microsoft has further argued that separating Windows from Explorer will be traumatic for the two applications, and that they should be reunited with their Miami relatives.

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